[Image © 2007 Midolluin]
Bob Dylan’s Christmas In the Heart, track by track . . .
As I wrote recently to a friend, Dylan has a capacity to re-imagine Christmas as though the past 2000 years of institutional church nonsense never happened. He seems to be singing from the apostolic era of Christianity, as an eyewitness to what went down back then.
On this song, I have no trouble hearing the voice of one of the original shepherds in Bethlehem who first saw the momentous star and followed it to a stable, where a baby was being born. The shepherd was a boy then — now he’s an old man, but he’s telling the story one more time, just as he remembers it. “And by the light of that same star,” Dylan sings, in a tone that suggests he’s saying, “. . . that star, boys, the one I was telling you about, the one I saw.”
And as he’s telling it, he gets caught up in the excitement of it . . . one more time — not just reporting anymore, by the end of the account, but adding his voice to the angels’ chorus, quite carried away by the word they kept repeating . . . “Noël!”
He’s probably dined out on the story more times than he cares to remember, to the point where the old-timers of Bethlehem are sick of it, but it still gets to him, in spite of himself. It makes him feel like a kid again.
Back to the Christmas In the Heart track list page.